018 – Yale Fox of Rentlogic – Rating Rentals

Rentlogic

Unbiased, data-driven ratings for every apartment building in New York City…

RentlogicYale Fox, CEO of Rentlogic (looks at a building’s history over time and rates it for quality and safety) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • Creating a ratings system for apartment buildingsRentlogic
  • List of standards built into an iPhone app
  • Basic standards include heat, hot water, no mold or roaches
  • Corporate relocations into quality housing gives better chance employees won’t end up in low quality housing which can affect work performance, and for international students, affect academic performance
  • One of only few ways to differentiate the rental product when similar buildings and location
  • Ratings available online, and signageRentlogic
  • Data certifications, increasing transparency
  • The genesis of the company from fighting in court and taking advice from a judge
  • Becoming a partner in a club and being a DJ, getting attention from a blog article
  • Trends from how open data is evolving from real estate spaceRentlogic
  • How Rentlogic is a socially responsible product
  • Canadian bands, Spotify, and music licensing rights
  • And — the first talking dog is intentionally profane?

017 – Raffi Holzer of Avvir – Building Exactly

Avvir

Automating the processes around data acquisition, visualization, and analysis to provide near real time insights into the state of a project including progress monitoring and defect detection…

AvvirRaffi Holzer, CEO of Avvir (using LIDAR technology to help construction BIM experience) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • Raffi Holzer on LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging, measure ranges via a remote sensing method using light in the form of a pulsed laser) and BIM (essentially a 3D blueprint)Avvir
  • How things change when construction begins, and without updating then the BIM becomes outdated
  • How a model can get so far off during construction
  • Making it more than a 3d rendering of a building.
  • BIM was a digital twin of a building
  • Preventing rework
  • The importance of having a spouse on board in a startup
  • Figuring out who user is, and building the right product for them
  • Talking to people who will be using a product and learning what they need
  • Major impact – BIM becoming a digital twin, becoming a centerpiece to manage a facility long term
  • Data and visualization of a product
  • Accurate building information model (instead of just spreadsheets)
  • New buildings installing sensors for IoT, need a system to enable sensors to talk to one another
  • Looking at climate control, safetyAvvir
  • How Avvir can catch mistakes quickly after done, making them more easily corrected, and an accurate model to be able to tie sensors together and make them viable
  • Be able to do predictive analytics, make suggestions to avoid errors
  • Avvir is hardware agnostic
  • How the marketplace is less of a competitive one, more educational
  • Inventory control, asset management and facility management
  • How Holzer created Peeq – reversible sunglasses
  • The goal of a political podcast

016 – Ryan Darby of Lotik – When Sinks and Toilets are Connected to the Internet

Ryan Darby

Monitoring water use with Internet-connected sensors with Lotik…

Ryan DarbyRyan Darby, VP of Business Development for Lotik, (a smart system of wireless sensors providing “point-of-use” water monitoring to track usage and detect leaks) joins Thomas Kutzman and guest host Marc Raco in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:Ryan Darby

  • Darby discusses how the water problem is a threefold one: cost from an operations standpoint, how the cost of water has gone up dramatically in last fifteen years, and that to control a utility like water, you need information and granular info. In New York City, there is only a single meter on the main from the utility and that’s all you know
  • If one has a leak one doesn’t know where (or that) it is occurring initially
  • Lotik is creating transparency, with no plumber or tools required
  • Quick calibration at setup, scanning barcode, enter meta data, and connecting to a mobile app
  • How the New York City water board uses most funds to maintain and upgrade the distribution systems, and this is similar across the country, and often a rate increase is because of population increase
  • Lotik has a focus on multifamily and large commercial buildingsRyan Darby
  • In addition to the operating side of the equation, potential property damage can be avoided, which benefits both the tenant and building owner
  • Turning plumbing fixtures into Internet connected devices, as part of Internet of Things
  • Bringing fixtures to life, and connecting one’s toilet and sink to the Internet
  • Conveying a message of social responsibility to battle privacy concerns
  • Finding ways to aggregate data to make it a little less granular in respect for privacy
  • Avoiding sabotaging of data
  • Using accelerometers, learned what the signature of a toilet flushing or a shower turning on is
  • Potential to interact with platforms on both sides (tenants and landlords)Ryan Darby
  • Looking at low flow movement in pipes, and thus early detection of leaks
  • Utilization of a communication protocol called LoRA
  • The genesis of the company based in water transparency, and how Samsung brought the cofounders into an accelerator program
  • Getting the word out, working with groups like Samsung and Totem Brooklyn, driving demand with building owners
  • A presence in mostly major urban areas on the Eastern seaboard, and the opportunity for the Bay Area and Seattle have high water costs, and where LoRA networks already exist
  • How Darby’s life transformed with meditation

015 – Steven Abd El Hamid of LiveWith – Real Roommate Collaboration

LiveWith

Collaborative roommate and apartment finder app…

LiveWithProblem: Most roommate opportunities are short-term sublets of additional rooms. This can lead to unstable situations with people with whom one might not be the right fit — fitting a circumstance instead of the perfect match, bad for renters and landlords alike. What if one could connect with someone on their same wavelength on one’s search — together. Real roommate collaboration. The demands exists and is resonating so well, there is a surge of early adopters and brand partners.

LiveWithSteven Abd El Hamid, Co-Founder and CEO of LiveWith (a roommate and apartment finder app like no other, which makes it easy to find ideal roommate matches, chat, schedule and collaboratively rent an apartment together – all within one app) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • Abd El Hamid reveals how 88% of Millennials are living with roommates, and have 4% less wealth than preceding generations, not as just a matter of choice or preference, but a necessity in most urban areas in the US and in Europe
  • How those Millennials require a mechanism to find a stable and desirable roommate situations as a matter of importance
  • The traditional process of finding roommates for many was relying on other agents talking to people like the person seeking a roommate situation, hoping that he/she was looking in same location, same budget, and same interests
  • LiveWithAbd El Hamid shares how he was co-owner of a real estate brokerage which matched roommates from Craigslist into situations, how they decided how to automate that process, and how they were looking at the most efficient ways to do that in the midst of carrying out a rental
  • How LiveWith is like date-matching tech mixed with the trend for everything to be available and transacted online, with the added impact of being able to consummate the entire rental through the product without having to leave the product
  • Why more companies don’t take this path – the technology exists but some of the powers that be have not had an incentive to build it out
  • Prospective roommates can chat via the LiveWith app and search all properties that fit preferencesLiveWith
  • How LiveWith uses general first-tier compatibility matching questions along with machine learning
  • The way LiveWith is referring business to various apartment providers, at a cost-per-click
  • What drove people to adopt LiveWith early on, and how most options are sublet-based
  • Societal and macro economic changes are driving symbiotic micro economic trends
  • Co-living situations, and “dorms for adults”
  • Sweden vs. USA, Abd El Hamid’s difficulty in transitioning from on Visa to another
  • How Abd El Hamid found his co-founder through an acquaintance
  • How vision plus effort can lead to success, and reaching for the sky as a an entrepreneur

014 – Dani Arps – Startup Space, The Design Frontier

Startup office design

Designing office spaces for startup companies, with Dani Arps…

Startup office designWhat comes first, does culture drive design, or does design foster culture? Danielle (Dani) Arps, a design expert, reveals how startups can approach a new office space, curate functional, supporting productivity, retention, and community in the workplace, work surfaces vs. desks, creating spaces people can work in where they will be the most productive, the nature of tertiary spaces, and aesthetics vs. personality when one doesn’t make sense for a business model. Plus, what math and music have to do with office design. Arps joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:Startup office design

  • How Arps designed spaces for Venmo, SeatGeek, and others, how she begins the inspiration process to design for a startup, and having a certain sense or vibe vs. traditional design.
  • Thinking about the design for a startup since it is a corporate office space,
  • Considering how are different spaces consumed
  • Why open offices may not work for a lot of companies, looking at the growth of tertiary spaces (i.e. living rooms within offices), quiet nooks, phone booths
  • Where the trends came from, the idea of open and tertiary spaces, what’s driving thoughtfulness in space usage, the impact of freelance workers
  • How employees can be more productive because they like where they work and want to be in a space where they like being, and looking at it all starting with Google
  • Startup office designHow company culture and ethos impacts design
  • A well-designed space is a perk, and helps recruit and retain employees
  • Why companies that are not startups want the look and feel of startups in their spaces
  • The nature of how generational expectations are changing
  • Does culture drive design? Or design drive culture?
  • What the point of the company is matters in the design, including how the company is aligned with the industry, and where you want company brand and culture to go
  • Phases of the design process: conceptual, programming, construction documentation/purchasing, installation

013 – Jonathan Wasserstrum of Squarefoot – Now It’s Time for Commercial

Squarefoot

Transparent commercial brokerage with proprietary smart tools…

SquarefootThe real estate industry is antiquated. For most people they think of the residential real estate first, and that’s lagging enough. But technology and innovation in the commercial real estate space? That’s twenty years behind residential. An exception to this is Squarefoot, an online brokerage platform that enables companies to find commercial properties without going space to space.

SquarefootJonathan Wasserstrum, Co-Founder and CEO of Squarefoot (”a team of trusted commercial real estate experts armed with our own technology to help guide you from initial inquiry to lease signing and beyond”), joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

In this episode:

  • SquarefootThe state of affairs of commercial real estate today, two decades behind residential real estate, comparative sizes of residential vs. commercial
    Enabling tenants to find space more easily
  • The problem being solved by Squarefoot is offering transparency and technology, as a listings platform,
  • Squarefoot’s biggest size deal ever, and the average size and company needs commercially
  • Playing a role in helping solve real estate problems
  • How Squarefoot clients can see the inventory
    Squarefoot aligns better incentives between broker and client, instead of commission based on deal size, a flat fee per broker, a different comp model, so its not about steering toward biggest commission.
  • Most brokers aren’t still at the same brokerage after three years, and at Squarefoot the rate is better than the industry average
  • First efficiency, not having to prospect, how inbound people search online and wind up on the Squarefoot site
  • Offering further efficiency via tech and products in the space and discovery, and a proprietary app
  • Looking ahead to the next level: agency business representing landlords
  • Commission structure in commercial vs. residential similar, and how many buildings average landlord own
  • A lack of interest from Squarefoot in competing against CoStar — being just a channel for tenants to find space and landlords to market the spaces, not a current interest in data.
  • Is Wasserstrum a technology guy or real estate guy?
    Ample Hills ice cream makes a special appearance
  • Are most companies actually tech companies?
  • 20% of market is moving every year, but it takes 5 cycles for everyone to go through a new change of process/tech, with commercial taking even longer
  • The need to ask “how do I do it better”
  • Anything that can help increase the top line, and decrease expenses, should be a welcome thing
  • A lack of Houston TX accent
  • Houston’s lack of zoning

012 – Bryan Colin of VirtualApt – Visualizing With Robots

VirtualApt

360 degree video tours using VR and AR technology that films and processes web-based virtual reality in real time, via autonomous mobile supercomputers…

VirtualAptWhy this service is important for consumer convenience, how consumers browse actively for all products but for the biggest purchase of their lives they typically make, they haven’t had access to the same digital access. To let them get the guided tour of spaces it can save time and money for all involved, plus offer convenience for the consumer.

Bryan Colin, CEO of VirtualApt (360 degree video tours via autonomous robots) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

In this interview:

  • VirtualAptLooking at early innovators like Google Street View and NET-A-PORTER with 360 images, and now being able to compress quality of video necessary to make this full and better, getting a full tour experience with narration, and with embeddable video on a custom player
  • VirtualApt’s full production team in the autonomous robot, programming the same path a normal tour would be
  • Hiring veterans as robot operators and why this plays such a significant role for the company
  • How the service is as affordable as a photographer, and how VirtualApt is able to bring the cost structure down
  • Why so much of VirtualApt’s business is in residential real estate in Brooklyn, NY
  • The ability to have international consumers see virtual tours that are narrated in their native language, and why landlords love international renters
  • VirtualAptA snack of Raspberry pie has meaning
  • Reproducing currently guided tours, being able to meaningfully experience views and sizes that a 2-page brochure doesn’t work for, along with all the visualization that a company would need
  • How the price point is so low, providing everything the client needs and making it so much more affordable and with quality control plus touching many points of the process—this controlling best end results
  • The world of visualization beyond real estate, how VirtualApt is more of a tech company thank a service company, and the aptitude of apt
  • How VirtualApt is inventing its own tech
  • Creating more links into the video, seeing a product in that space, creating a new experience, shoppable links to buy or shop, and making virtual reality experience what it should be
  • Bringing you to another location where you want to be, showing what makes that space unique
  • Bootstrapping the company, recruiting the right people, creating a company culture as an enjoyable place to be
  • Does this technology risk putting real estate agents out of business or is it creating opportunities?
  • How robots can provide nearly exact measurements of a space, and Colin’s favorite robots
  • Being comfortable in your own self and in the world, and the cost of being focused as an entrepreneur
  • How the digital is now, and it is necessary to be focused on how you look digitally and your digital presence as the place when someone is there already

011 – Zvi Band of Contactually – It’s About the Relationships

zvi band

CRM for real estate…

Zvi Band, Co-Founder & CEO of Contactually (a customer relationship management software and service company, and a provider of customer relationship software for various industries including real estate) joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

Complex transactions require real relationships, and intelligent CRM, and motivating software adoption

Band discusses how the real estate industry is not vastly different than other industries, and simple sales don’t require complex relationships. Buying/selling homes and properties involves complex transactions, and the process is not always neat and clean. The primary competitive advantage real estate agents/brokers have is the relationship. The right CRM keeps relationships strong. The 1.2 million real estate agents in the US. How Contactually differs from other CRMs, intelligent CRM, and delivering intelligence, prompting action. Setting a level of expectation, training brands and ease of use, and overcoming low agent use of software in a brokerage.

Accepting change, the commodity of relationships, and how culture eats strategy

Incentivizing agents to use the support systems, and one muffin for snack time. The biggest pain-point real estate agents have, how some are stuck in their model, sand some are transforming and accepting change. How agents build their own brands with relationships and web presence, and relationships are a commodity. Technology makes sure transaction is smooth, supported, making sure agents can build their best relationships. Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Brokerage vs. tech company, siloed listing data, and a rocket scientist

Why brokerages don’t always build their own CRMs, and are technology companies seeing real estate as a play? Or brokerages becoming tech companies? What’s broken in real estate that should and can be fixed, how listing data and MLS (multiple listing service) is siloed off, and a mess. Personal questions cover a rocket scientist, friends as a resource, transitioning to the public face of a company, and the duality of honesty.

010 – Ofo Ezeugwu of Whose Your Landlord – Housing In Their Hands

Ofo Ezeugwu

Neighborhood insights, landlord reviews, and quality listings empowering and informing the rental community…

Ofo EzeugwuOfo Ezeugwu, CEO & Co-Founder of Whose Your Landlord (enabling renters to find their next home and to review their landlords and housing complexes, and enabling landlords to provide and use renter references and to target their listings to their desired market), joins Thomas Kutzman and Scott Pollack in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser. Presented by Prevu.

Why it matters, content, and landlord reciprocation

Ofo EzeugwuEzeugwu discusses why the landlord review process is so important, why content is important, the need to educate, a forum called The Community, plus blog and video content blended in with the platform, reviews, search and content—all as key things. Plus, how landlords can reciprocate, and the overcoming fear of being blackballed by landlords.

Acquiring users, growth, and helping with disputes creatively

Ofo EzeugwuHow Whose Your Landlord is getting the platform in the hands of renters, how there are many truths to situations and reviews have both sides, larger companies are controlling larger blocks, the importance of reviews, bigger vs. smaller landlords, and more than 10,000 reviews in the Philadelphia and New York areas over 4 ½ years. Developing significant readership, getting involved in disputes, making content to help renters know how to maneuver out of issues and difficulties.

Diversifying the industry, inspired by off campus living, and expansion

Personal questions cover moving a lot as a kid, female and unrepresented backgrounds in real estate tech and how to change that. If people never had a hand in real estate or understood it, or parents could teach them about it, how will they be motivated to enter that industry? But every industry is helped by newbies looking at it, who are not jaded by that reality, and how can one create one’s own. And when one is looking for people, one may not know where to find them. The need for making a more concerted effort for change, and how that can make a big difference. Ezeugwu’s surprisingly good landlord experience, but as VP of his college student body he was focused on off campus activities, and a lot of housing issues. His favorite city to live in, Philadelphia and NYC, where they plan to expand in the cities growing fastest. What home is, and a crowdfunding opportunity for ownership in the company.

009 – Thomas Kutzman of Prevu – On a Mission to Save Homebuyers Money

Prevu

Smart online brokerage enable commission rebates via an end-to-end Platform…

PrevuThomas Kutzman, Co-Founder of Prevu (a smart online brokerage focused on saving people money) and host of “Real Estate Is Your Business” podcast, joins Scott Pollack and Pavan Bahl in the MouthMedia Network studios powered by Sennheiser.

Better Technology. Better Service. Best Commission Rebates.

PrevuKutzman touches on how commission rates too high in real estate, with rates in the US/NYC being double and triple than other developed countries, and how his experiences along with his co-founder Chase Marsh led to creating a solution with Prevu. He continues that in New York City the average real estate price is $1.5-2 Million with high commissions, and how it really is not free to be represented by buyer’s agent because it’s built into the price because of commission split with buyer’s agent. How Prevu gets up to two-thirds back on commissions of buyer’s side to the customer, receiving money back as a commission rebate check. It is not because of a lesser service, instead using technology for better experience for buyers and to make agents more efficient, plus a lower internal cost structure. Controlling the consumer experience and the quality of service and interaction. Despite some 30,000 licensed agents in NYC, 10% of them are doing 90% of work. The Prevu brand acquires leads and customers digitally, and provides more stability and experience/activity for Prevu agents. Plus, why it is a scalable model, and best for major markets.

Engineering a smarter buying experience

PrevuHow Kutzman has been looking at it through the lens of other industries have changed like travel and financial, changing the way agents com into the industry and their expectations of stability, and why you’ll never learn a profession doing it part time. Prevu’s compelling value proposition, the impact of the new tax reform on real estate, and why it won’t impact most people. And, making use of a commission rebate, and expanding to other markets.

Charitable giving, learning, and treating people well

Personal questions cover giving back, a focus on charitable giving, Children’s International, and Code2College which encourages STEM careers at a high school level for underprivileged and minority teens, and how encouraging tech careers at earlier ages leads to greater success. The NYU Violets, how Kutzman was encouraged to save and buy a property instead of having cancelled rent checks, making sure if you didn’t know something, go take a class to learn it. How there are a lot of great real estate people, and a lot of great technology people, but few have a lens on both areas. As time goes on, more people will know both. The meaning of success, a great mentor, treating people the right way serving you well, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, and “Principles”.